Recent Publications of Note
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This column will reference recent books, journal articles, exhibition catalogs, online publications, and other resources that focus on photographs from Asia. Please send materials (copies of publications, complete citations, or internet links) to Dr. Raymond Lum, 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA (firstname.lastname@example.org). Notice in this column does not preclude the publication of a full review in forthcoming issues of TAP Review. Views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the compiler unless they are bracketed in quotation marks.
Hanchao Lu, The Birth of a Republic: Francis Stafford’s Photographs of China’s 1911 Revolution and Beyond (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010). 240 pp., 162 illus. ISBN 9780295989402). Stafford, an American, developed photolithography for the Commercial Press in Shanghai. His photographs of the Republican revolution of 1911 document both the Chinese government troops and the revolutionaries, and are among the very few photos of the events that eventually ended China’s imperial system.
Karen Strassler, Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java (Duke University Press, 2010). 408 pp., 127 photographs. ISBN (paper) 978-0-8223-4611-1. On the use of photography in the creation of a national identity in post-colonial Java.
Sunil Gupta, Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (Multilingual Edition), (Steidl, 2010). 287 pages. ISBN-13: 978-3869301389.
Sunil Gupta and Radhika Singh, Click! Contemporary Photography in India (New York: Dist. by ACC [email@example.com], 2008) vi, 218 pp. ISBN 81-87737-81-6.
Louis Zweers, “‘Merdeka’: Images of Hostile Territory,” IIAS Newsletter, no. 52 (spring 2010), p. 38 [www.iias.nl/article/merdeka-images-hostile-territory]. On the autonomous Indonesian press photo agency, Indonesian Press Photo Service, and its collection of photos of Indonesia’s struggle for independence. The author notes that the collections of the state-owned Antara photo agency and those of the Berita Film Indonesia were destroyed after the failed Communist coup of 1965.
Louis Zweers, Exhibition Travels of the Past: Photographs by Alphons Hustinx . (Jakarta: Erasums Huis, 2009), 45 pp. Exhibition catalog.
Louis Zweers, Koloniale Oorlog [Colonial War], 1945-1949: Van Indie naar Indonesia (Amsterdam: Carrera Publishers, 2009). ISBN 9789048803200. In Dutch. The author is a historian of art and photography at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
John Falconer, ed., Waterhouse Albums: Central Indian Provinces (Ahmedabad: Mapin International, 2009) ISBN 9780944142844.“Indian army officer and Assistant Surveyor‐General in charge of the Photo‐Litho Office of the Survey of India, Waterhouse took up photography soon after arriving in India in 1859, and in 1861–2 was sent to photograph the tribes of central India; many of these portraits were later to appear in The People of India (1868–75). In 1866 he became head of the photographic department of the Survey of India and over the next three decades, until his retirement in 1897, established himself as an international authority on the photomechanical applications of photography, particularly in the field of cartography. His contributions to scientific photographic research were recognized by the award of the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal in 1890 and the Vienna Photographic Society's Voigtländer Medal in 1895. He was president of the Royal Photographic Society in 1905–6.” Source: http://arts.jrank.org/pages/11632/James-Waterhouse.html.
Alan Chong and Noriko Murai, Journeys East: Isabella Stewart Gardner and Asia. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2009) 479 pp. ISBN 978-193-477-2751.The wealthy Isabella Stewart Gardner, popularly known as “Mrs. Jack,” built an Italian palazzo on Boston’s Fenway, near the Museum of Fine Arts, and stocked it with art and artifacts from around the world, guided by Bernard Berenson, Ernest Fenollosa, Edward Sylvester Morse, John La Farge and others. Her several travels in Asia and her friendship with Okakura Kakuzo (curator of Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts) led to the assembling of a collection of Asian objets d’art, including photographs, which are detailed in this substantial book that focuses on the photographs Gardner collected on her visits to Asia. Excerpts from her diaries are deftly applied as extended captions to the photographs.
Beijing World Art Museum, China Through the Lens of John Thomson=Wan Qing sui ying: Yuehan.Tangmuxun yan zhong de Zhongguo 晚清碎影 約翰.湯姆遜眼中的中國 (Beijing: Zhongguo she ying chu ban she=China Photographic Publishing House, 2009) 167 pp. ISBN 978-7-80236-332-8. A large format, bi-lingual exhibition catalog, this work draws on Thomson’s original glass plates held at the Wellcome Library in London. Many of these photographs have been published, often without attribution, in cropped format; others have never before been exhibited or published. The decision to exhibit and publish the images in full-plate allows the viewer to see the photographs as Thomson took them. Thus, we see the edges of hanging backdrops, and people, furniture, and doorways that have been deleted in other published versions. We also see cracked emulsions, mottled surfaces, and other defects that developed in the glass plates over time. The exhibition, which opened in Beijing in 2009, is being shown at several venues in China and in London. The text puts Thomson into the context of his time in China and in his place in the history of photography in China. Thomson (1837-1921) promoted understanding of China through his books that included his photographs; thus, the images and their context and significance are presented as a coherent whole.
Jin Yongquan 晋永权, Hong qi zhao xiang guan: 1956-1959 nian Zhongguo she ying zheng bian 红旗照相馆 1956-1959 年中国摄影争辩=Red Flag Studio: Debates on China’s photography 1956-1959. (Beijing: Jin Chen Chubanshe, 2009). 305 pp. ISBN 9787802511460.
Wang Wenlan 王文谰, Bai ming jizhe jujiao Zhongguo 百名摄影记者聚焦中国 1949
2009。 [One-hundred famous reporters’photographs of China, 1949-2009] (Beijing: Zhongguo wen lian chubanshe, 2009). 401 pp. ISBN 9787505964648. Bilingual Chinese and English text.
Zhang Jianguo 张建国, Wan li fu rong ji: di yi ci shi jie da zhan can zhan Hua gong ji shi 万里赴戎机 第一次世界大战参战华工记实 Over There: the Pictorial Chronicle of [the] Chinese Laborer Corps in the Great War . (Jinan: Shangdong Huabao Chubanshe, 2009), 188 pp. ISBN 9787807138009. France’s male work force was largely conscripted for military duty during WWI, resulting in a severe shortage of workers to support the war effort at home. The French government recruited thousands of Chinese laborers, the bulk of them from Shangdong Province, to temporarily replace the conscripted workers. Catalog of an exhibition organized by the Weihaiwei Municipal Archives in Shandong. Bilingual Chinese and English text.
Edward Stokes, Hong Kong as it Was: Hedda Morrison’s Photographs, 1946-47 (Hong Kong: The Photographic Heritage Foundation; Cambridge, MA: Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University, 2009; Harvard-Yenching Library Studies, no. 10) xiii, 218 pp. ISBN 978-962-209-966-1.This is a second edition of Stokes’s Hedda Morrison’s Hong Kong (2005), without the Chinese text that appeared in the original edition and a slightly different selection of photographs. The German photographer, Hedda Hammer Morrison, lived in Beijing from 1933 to 1946 and in Hong Kong for a few months in 1946 and 1947. Her ca. 5000 photos of China, now in the Harvard-Yenching Library, document lifestyles, religious practices streetscapes, and handicraft production that have virtually disappeared from China. Morrison’s Hong Kong photos, also in the Harvard-Yenching Library and the only ones known to exist of that time in Hong Kong, document a pivotal period in Hong Kong’s history as the colony struggled to rebuild following the devastations of the Japanese occupation during WWII. The full- , half-, and quarter-page photographs are presented as thumbnails with extended captions at the back of the book.
Donald N. Clark, ed., Missionary Photography in Korea: Encountering the West through Christianity (Seoul: Seoul Selection; New York: The Korea Society, 2009) 184 pp. ISBN 978-89-91913-59-2.The rarely-seen photographs in this compilation have been drawn from several collections and archives of Protestant and Catholic missionaries and missionary societies and have been digitally restored. Extended captions enhance not only the images but also the essays that give the photos context, such as "Women and Protestant Christianity in Korea," "The Religious Revolution in Modern Korean History," "Korean Responses to Foreign Missionaries in Early Korea," "Education for All," and "Medicine and Miracles."
Rahaab Allana, “The Art of Realism: Painted Photographs From India,” IIAS [International Institute of Asian Studies] Newsletter, no. 51 (Summer 2009), pp. 16-17; http://www.iias.nl/article/art-realism-painted-photographs-india . In this brief scholarly article, Rahaab Allana, Curator at the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, in New Delhi, (http://www.acparchives.com/pageone.html) and a master of elegant prose recounts how the tradition of portrait painting in India was adapted to the more modern art of photography. Allana suggests several reasons for the appropriation of the photographic arts by the fine arts, including the migration of provincial artists to large urban areas in their search for patronage as a result of the” decline in princely culture” in northern India following the anti-British Uprising of 1857.
Rahaab Allana, guest ed., Aperture and Identity: Early Photography in India . Vol. 61, no. 1 (September 2009) issue of Marg, A Magazine of the Arts (Mumbai: Marg Publications) ISSN 0972-1444.Essays in this volume provide a wealth of information on photography, collections and collectors, and manipulation of photographs by over-painting in color. The role of several rulers of independent states in the development of photography in India is juxtaposed with photographs made by and collections assembled by officers of the Raj. The context of all this is concisely presented in an introductory essay by the editor. The essay on “The Photography Archive at the City Palace Museum in Udaipur” details a large collection of some 15,000 photographic prints. The references, bibliography, and book reviews that are included in this extremely well-produced volume will enable readers to pursue the history of early photography in India. An interview with Madan Mehta of Mahatta Studio, whose family has been closely involved in photography as career and art, is particularly valuable in reconstructing the history of photography in India in the 20th century.
Lao She, Laoshe and His Beijing. Ouyang Yu, tr.; Li Jiangshu, Shen Jiguang, photographers (Shanghai: Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House, 2009) 111 pp. ISBN 978 7 5321 3660. Excerpts from novels by Lao She are paired with older and newer (color) photographs of places or activities mentioned in the excerpts. The named photographers probably are responsible for the colored images; the older, black and white photographs are from unacknowledged but occasionally identifiable sources, some of which are still under copyright. The book lacks either a foreword or an afterword to explain what it is about. The publisher was disingenuous to name the late writer Lao She (d. 1966) as the author of this book.
Grace Lau, Picturing the Chinese: Early Western Photographs and Postcards of China. (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing, 2008) 165 pp. ISBN 978-962-040-2780-0.This sweeping overview of photographs and photographic postcards is graced with a very good selection of images, all crisply reproduced. Although some of the photographs have almost become stock images because of their appearance in various books on photography of China, others have rarely, if ever, been published previously. The author’s use of the word “vintage” to describe some of the photographs is somewhat imprecise, and the use of the term “old China Hands” to identify Westerners with residence in China or expertise in matters Chinese is already a cliché. The pairing of photographs with postcards is used with good effect to highlight the relationship between the two genre of visual images.
Lynn Pan, Shanghai Style: Art and Design Between the Wars (San Francisco: Long River Press; published in association with Joint Publishing, Hong Kong, 2008) 285 pp. ISBN 978-1-59265-078-1.Shanghai style, “the defining look and ethos [from a blurb on the book’s cover liner]” of the 1920s and 1930s, was a response to Asian and Western cultural influences coming together at a time of great change, and freedom, in a city sometimes called “the Paris of the East.” Heavily illustrated, albeit in small images, the book includes photographs of the artists, writers, and movers who were most prominent in the Shanghai art world at the time.
Michael Aram Tarr and Stuary Blackburn, Through the Eye of Time [vol. 1]: Photographs of Arunachal Pradesh, 1859-2006. (Leiden: Brill, 2008), ix, 217 pp. (Brill’s Tibetan Studies, vol. 16/1) ISBN 978 90 04 16522 9.
Robert Bickers, et al., Picturing China 1870-1950: Photographs from British Collections (Bristol: [Bristol University Chinese Maritime Customs Project], 2007). iv, 52 pp. Catalog of an exhibition held at the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and other locations through 2008.